Russian Art Student Sentenced to 27 Years for Bombing Pro-War Blogger; Claims Manipulation by Ukrainian Handlers

A St. Petersburg court has sentenced 26-year-old Darya Trepova to 27 years in prison for her role in the bombing of a Russian cafe last April, resulting in the death of prominent pro-war military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky. Trepova was convicted of charges, including terrorism, illegal trafficking of explosive devices, and forging documents.

Tatarsky, a fervent supporter of Kremlin’s military action in Ukraine, was killed by a bomb concealed inside a statuette that Trepova presented to him during a talk in a St. Petersburg Cafe. Trepova claimed she had been set up and thought the statuette contained a listening device, not a bomb.

During the trial, Trepova revealed that she had been acting under the instructions of a man in Ukraine known as “Gestalt.” She asserted that Gestalt had been sending her money and instructions for several months before the attack. Trepova expressed regret, stating, “I feel great pain and shame that my gullibility and my naivety led to such catastrophic consequences. I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”

The prosecution argued that Trepova had knowingly participated in the attack to destabilize the Russian Federation and discredit the military operation in Ukraine. The defense, on the other hand, claimed Trepova was also a victim, as she could have been killed or wounded in the blast.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated further when Russia accused Ukraine of organizing Tatarsky’s murder immediately after the attack. However, Ukrainian officials neither confirmed nor denied involvement, describing it as “internal terrorism.”

Dmitry Kasintsev, the owner of the apartment where Trepova was found and arrested, was also sentenced to one year and nine months for helping her hide.

Trepova’s sentencing marks one of the harshest punishments for a woman in Russia’s history.

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